(Note: “Extreme Decorating” is an ongoing series in which WallCandy Dad goes beyond removable wall stickers or reusable wall decals and explores unusual decorating ideas tried in homes, restaurants, hotels, businesses, tourist destinations and public spaces. We all get decoration inspiration from different places, as it is a reflection of our tastes and personalities).
Worn-out tires pose a potential environmental disaster. Left alone in a landfill, they can take up to 50 to 80 years to decompose. However, most landfills don’t want them. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 38 states have banned them. If not handled properly, rubber chemicals can leech into the groundwater. Luckily, there is a huge secondary market for scrap tires, much of it being used for fuel or recycled construction materials.
As useful as rubberized asphalt and rubber bark mulch is, they are nowhere near as pretty as these reborn chairs at the Tire Art Design studio in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Artist Tad Pierson makes his funky furniture with abandoned tires, steel, commercial fishing nets, foam and hardware all sourced from local companies. The tires themselves are all found littering the streets and ditches of Memphis.
“I don’t want to beat people over the head with my political dogma anymore,” Pierson writes in the Artist’s Manifesto on his Facebook page. “As I get older, my personal actions speak for my beliefs. I’m an environmentalist. I want to take direct action to save the planet. I make very comfortable chairs out of discarded tires that you see everyday glutting the landscape. This is my attempt to sweep up in my corner of the Universe.”
“By purchasing a tire chair, you also are taking direct action in helping to clean up the environment. The rivers of America applaud your warrior stance,” he adds.
While Pierson likes to paint his treads bright colors, fellow tire artist Young Ho Ji prefers to work in natural black.
Hailing from Korea, Yong Ho Ji specializes in creating tire animal “mutants,” using different kinds of tires to represent different parts of the body. More flexible bicycle tires, for example, might be used to make faces. Automobile tires are used for necks and various treads are used to represent muscle groups.
Yong Ho Ji’s portfolio is an impressive zoo including: jaguars, lions, tigers, wolves, bears, deers, bulls, rhinos, goats, zebras, spiders, horses, gorillas, sharks, hyenas and even hybrids between humans and various beasts. Perhaps because the roughness of the tires, all of his animals look like they have taken steroids.
Taking a more gentle look at the animal kingdom is Costa Rican artist Erian Herrera Quiros, who carves rainforest creatures out of discarded tires. The masterpiece below is a hanging toucan planter. You can see the rest of his amazing work here.
Although the toucans by Quiros and the bears by Ho Ji might not be replicable by untrained sculptors, creating recycled art is possible for every ability level. Beauty, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder. Check out the folk art tire frog shared below by the fun gardeners at “Two Women and a Hoe,” a Michigan landscaping business.
If you’d like to make your very own Folk Art Frog planter, the Women have kindly shared how they did it here.